Hidden Costs of Debt Stress


There has been a lot of talk recently about how the pandemic has affected the mental health of most Canadians. But long before the pandemic, money stress existed. Certainly the shortage of money and the uncertainty of the future has led to a massive increase in anxiety. When creditors call, you have no money to pay debts and you avoid opening bills, this creates a heavy emotional strain and can be almost as damaging as having your car repossessed or being garnished. Simply put, debt wreaks havoc on our mental health.

Most of us at some point in their lives experience money problems. Trouble happens. Marriages fail, jobs disappear, people get sick and bad luck seems to follow us. No one is immune especially during a pandemic which we have learned.

Debt problems create low self-esteem and impaired cognitive function such as attentiveness and processing. Studies have shown those with higher levels of unemployment were more likely to turn to medications and alcohol to get them through which can also affect your physical health. No one wants to get sick but it can happen with prolonged stress.

Worrying about debt triggers stress which reduces resilience against mental health problems. Mental health problems often decrease self-control, increase spending and affect financial judgment. Debt stress affects mental health and mental health affects debt stress. It’s a teeter-totter relationship.  

It’s important to eliminate debt stress for many reasons, most importantly your general happiness and overall health. Prolonged debt stress can cause debt-anger syndrome. Instead of panicking about debt, people get mad. Mad at creditors for collecting, mad at employers for closing, mad at family members for not understanding, mad a kids that need new braces and most importantly mad at themselves for letting it get this bad. It can ruin relationships even the most valuable ones you need.    

The good news is that debt solutions are simple and very accessible. Making a consumer proposal to your creditors to pay off a certain amount of the debt interest free has many benefits. It creates a reorganization plan which stopped the bleed from excessive interest payments, stopped calls from creditors and makes you feel worthy as you are paying what you can afford and creditors have agreed to your deal. While bankruptcy may not be anyone’s first choice, it is available to honest but unfortunate people who don’t have the means to make a payment arrangement to their creditors. There is nothing embarrassing about needing a fresh start to get your life under control and reduce your stress. Having a licensed professional put a debt plan in place keeps one part of life under your control, improves your overall mental health and increases your general happiness.